From Greece to Germany for a technical apprenticeship
In order to train in a technical profession, Georgia Skaltsa left her home in Greece in 2020. Her enthusiasm for technology led her to Kiel in the north of Germany. At thyssenkrupp Marine Systems the 20-year-old is doing an apprenticeship as a construction mechanic.
In summer, temperatures in Georgia’s home city of Athens frequently climb above 40 degrees, and rarely drop below 25 degrees at night. Quite a difference to her new home of Kiel in Germany, where anything above 25 degrees is a cause for celebration.
But it wasn’t the cooler climate that persuaded her to leave Greece behind. Georgia wanted to train in a technical profession, specifically in shipbuilding. “I’ve been wanting to come to Germany to study since I was 17,” says Georgia. “I could have started an apprenticeship as a mechanic or studied engineering in Greece.” But not in submarine construction, which was what Georgia wanted. And she has had a certain affinity for Germany in her blood: Georgia’s mother grew up in Bavaria, and her father was born in Germany. Georgia also attended a private language school in Greece to learn German.
A visit to relatives in Germany in 2019 finally got the ball rolling. “During my trip to Germany two years ago I went to a job fair. That’s where I first found out about thyssenkrupp Marine Systems,” she remembers, and from that point on it was all she wanted to do. As Georgia’s aunt and uncle already lived in Kiel, one thing led to another: she applied to the company and was offered an apprenticeship. In September 2020 she started an apprenticeship as a construction mechanic in the area of equipment technology in Kiel.
Women and technology – a contradiction in terms?
A young woman in a technical profession: It’s a constellation that still raises the occasional eyebrow. But not at thyssenkrupp. The old-established company group has long since given up on such outdated pigeonholing. Typical male occupations, classic roles? Nowhere to be found. People are not judged by their gender here, but above all by their interests and capabilities.
So, Georgia didn’t need to think twice. At thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, she has found her dream job. A job that can sometimes be very demanding. “We work outside in pretty much all weathers,” says Georgia of her work at Germany’s biggest shipyard. “But I like working at the waterside. There are new challenges every day, so it never gets boring.”
Georgia is currently working in the sheet metalworking department. “First thing in the morning there’s a job briefing where we talk about what we have to do that day. Then, I’m busy measuring, scribing, drawing and drilling. It’s great when you can make something in the workshop and then later install it.”
“Part of something bigger”
Georgia enjoys being part of something bigger. “All kinds of different departments work on our projects. And I love being able to play my part in building submarines.”
Language has not been a problem by the way: Although Georgia has only been in Germany since 2020, her German is excellent. And when she’s not working outside at the shipyard with the wind in her face, she is already planning her future. “I’d like to learn more about my profession,” she says. “So after I finish my apprenticeship I’d like to do a dual study course in mechanical engineering. I’d also be interested in qualifying as a master mechanic or technician. At thyssenkrupp, of course.”
And another idea: “Perhaps I could also learn a new language,” says the technically gifted apprentice. For who knows where her future career might take her?